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looking for "effortless" bass growl

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by kreplock, Aug 17, 2005.

  1. kreplock


    Aug 6, 2005
    i'd like to be able to toss a good growl effect into my playing without thinking about it, using it for maybe just one note or a whole passage. so what is bass growl and where does it come from?

    as best i can tell it's just the string hitting the open frets lightly while it is sounding. the string requires a lot of movement for this, so bass growl generally lives on the E and A strings, open or fretted on frets 1 through 5. so range seems limited for this effect.

    bass setup must have a lot to do with it. if your bass has low action it should be a lot easier to bring this effect out. i've never heard of anyone wanting a high action on their guitar anyway(...?), so i'd think most basses are set up for lowest action with a clean sound.

    the tricky mechanic is getting that required extra string movement without ruining your volume dynamic. just plucking the string harder brings too much volume. moving closer to the middle of the string (where the neck meets the body of the guitar) helps, but i don't know if it's the whole solution. it's still a bit loud but maybe with practise i'll get more control.

    how do you guys get the growl effect? are preamp settings a key to this? does anyone have links to soundbites with good examples of bass growl?
  2. I'd say its more to do with your bass and amp settings than anything else... Boost the mids, play closer to the bridge...

    Oh, owning a Warwick thumb would help too! :D
  3. kreplock


    Aug 6, 2005
    i need to find a warwick bass that doesn't carry the warwick pricetag :)

    does the thumb significantly outperform a musicman stingray?
  4. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I don't think so. People who like Warwicks do.
  5. FunkSlap89


    Apr 26, 2005
    Albany, NY
    You can usually find warwicks for good prices on eBay, but yeah... boost the mids and bass, cut back on the treb.

    mmmmm... i love the warwick growl!
  6. The thumb and stingray are really different basses. They both really growl and slap great though! Stingrays are great value for money too.
  7. Growl is surprisingly in the hands more than people think. Playing near the bridge, using a strong attack right over the bridge pickup, with some boost in the low mids does the trick for me every time. Having a growly bass does help also.
  8. I don't think a little volume increase during a growl is such a bad thing. Attack the string a little more aggressively and get it to bang the frets a bit. I play like this most of the time and get a growl out of just about anything.
  9. markorbit


    Apr 16, 2004
    Yeah I think you need quite low action and then dig in when required. Your technique will play a big part. EQ-wise I find it all happens in the lower mids say, 220Hz-450Hz. I find that if I then open up the treble at around 2Khz it can be a horrible harsh sound but eq-ed correctly it can really sound warm, punchy and growly. If I want more treble I'd look at around 7Khz. If I want more clarity I'd aim for 800hz to 1Khz.

    For me the definition of growl can be found on The Stranglers album La Folie, best heard on Tramp or How To Find... it's sorta dark and different from the earlier stuff. I used to be guilty of eq-ing stuff with more bass and more treble but the bark and body comes from the low mids with my Fender Precision.
  10. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    IMO, the price difference is dramatic enough to just expect a Thumb to outperform a 'Ray. I've played the NTB and BO thumbs, as well as 4 and 5 striing 'Rays (active and passive) and I can honestly say that IMO, the Warwicks were far better instruments. The thing is, there is a significant price increase from even a 4 string active to the BO Thumb 4.
  11. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
  12. Well since everyone's recommending a Warwick Thumb, here's a recording of my Thumb 5, stock MEC electronics, in active mode, all settings completely flat. Strings are a few months old but not dead by any means.

    Thumb 5 Flat (Fingerstyle)